Upholding the right of homebuyers to get the posession of their flats on time, the Supreme Court has directed Supertech Ltd to refund around Rs 1 cr to a buyer for delay in giving possession of a flat in its Noida Capetown project in Sector 74.
The plea by the company that the project could not be completed on time because of construction stay order from NGT was turned down by a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit, who took the stand that the buyer should not suffer because of delay in the project.
In this case, the buyer, Ankur Goswami, had booked a flat worth of Rs 1.1 cr in Supertech’s Capetown project in Sector 74 Noida in October 2012 and was assured by the company that it would be delivered by October, 2013. With construction not being completed even three years after the deadline, Goswami initiated legal proceedings against the company in 2016 and filed a complaint before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) through his advocate Dushyant Singh.
In July, NCDRC directed the company to refund Rs 96 lakh deposited by the homebuyer with 10% interest. It rejected the contention of the company which had taken the defence that the flat buyer had not deposited the amount on time and allowed his plea. “Having not cancelled the allotment on account of the delay in making payment, the company cannot now deny refund of the amount paid to it by the complainant on account of the aforesaid alleged delay,” the commission had said.
The Company thereafter approached the SC challenging NCDRC’s verdict. Advocate Preetika Dwivedi, appearing for Supertech told the bench that delay in the project was because of unforeseen reasons and the company was committed to complete the project as soon as possible and pleaded the court to set aside the order.
The bench, however, was not satisfied with her arguments and , said there was a violation of contract as the company had promised to hand over the flat in 2013 itself and there was inordinate delay of almost four years. “As a builder you must fulfil your promise to hand over the possession on time and you must also be ready for all eventualities,” the bench said. The bench also rejected her plea to waive off interest on the amount deposited by Goswami. It said that 10% was way less than the 24% interest that real estate companies charged from flat buyers for default in payment.
“We do not find any ground to interfere with the impugned order. The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. The statutory deposit of Rs. 50,000 in this Court may be withdrawn by the respondents,” the bench said.